Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Folly of Sober-Minded Cynicism
The point that the anti-war demonstrations and movement in general brought us directly to Obama as president, a point made less directly by Ross Douthat of all people in the NY Times recently, brings a long-view perspective on the merits of protest. Ta-Nehisi Coates:
And finally it meant the election of the country’s first black president whose ascent began at an anti-war rally in Chicago.
I say all this to say that if I regret anything it is my pose of powerlessness — my lack of faith in American democracy, my belief that the war didn’t deserve my hard thinking or hard acting, my cynicism. I am not a radical. But more than anything the Iraq War taught me the folly of mocking radicalism. It seemed, back then, that every “sensible” and “serious” person you knew — left or right — was for the war. And they were all wrong. Never forget that they were all wrong. And never forget that the radicals with their drum circles and their wild hair were right.
It’s an edifying and encouraging point, since many in the anti-war movement had wondered if it was worth it at all, since we hadn’t been able to stop the war or the carnage. But more and more pundits are concluding the vehement and enduring opposition to the war and its crimes made an essential, long-term, positive change in our politics, in the Democratic party, and in our country.